Madison Dialogue Publishes White Paper

The Madison Dialogue has published its third White Paper, entitled “Making Diamonds Work for Development,” by Kirsten Hund of SRK Consulting.

The paper was commissioned by the non-governmental organizations EARTHWORKS and Fatal Transactions, to facilitate the work of mining companies, NGOs, jewelry retailers, and other members of the Madison Dialogue, who are supporting diamond development projects that advance social and environmental objectives.

The paper chronicles the efforts and challenges faced by project proponents as they seek to make progress on these issues, in the aftermath of the publicity surrounding the conflict diamonds issue.

The Madison Dialogue is a cross-sector initiative that was established to promote communication and collaboration among companies, civil society groups and others seeking to encourage best practices, sustainable economic development, and verified sources of responsible gold, diamonds and other minerals.

During the Madison Dialogue’s first Summit, held in October 2007 in Washington, D.C., attendees agreed to form working groups to examine challenges faced by small-scale and artisanal miners in the diamonds, gems and precious metals industries, as well as to examine issues concerning the refining of metals, the manufacture of gems and jewelry, and other topics 

“We are hopeful that ‘Making Diamonds Work for Development’ will assist communities, NGOs, companies and governments, as they seek to produce and/ or market so-called ‘ethical’ diamonds. There is value in learning from other initiatives,” says Anneke Galama, International Coordinator for Fatal Transactions.

“On the back of publicity about conflict diamonds, there has been a proliferation of initiatives by the diamond industry, governments, donors, and/or civil society in the past decade or so, to create truly ‘clean’, ‘fair’ or ‘ethical’ diamonds, i.e. diamonds that aim to contribute to sustainable development,”  the white paper states.

The paper describes and explains the various on-the-ground, collaborative projects that have been created to improve the lives of artisanal and small-scale diamond miners, as well as, in some cases, workers in the diamond cutting, polishing and jewelry industries. It then goes on to list and describe individual manufacturing companies working to improve the lives of small-scale diamond workers in both the mining and cutting trades. The challenges faced by retailers who want to describe themselves as supportive of “ethical” or “fair trade” diamond initiatives are also listed, and an annex of such retailers is included in the report.

While the author made a concerted effort to chronicle as many cases as possible, it is likely that the report missed a number of examples. Those with new or updated information should send it to lcotler@earthworksaction.org, so that it can be posted on the Madison Dialogue Web site.

For the full report go to www.madisondialogue.org.

The Madison Dialogue is a cross-sector initiative established to promote communication and collaboration among companies, civil society groups and others seeking to encourage best practices, sustainable economic development, and verified sources of responsible gold, diamonds and other minerals.